New Castle police shot and killed an armed New Castle man who fled the scene of a robbery in Glenwood Springs Saturday afternoon and led law enforcement on a high-speed vehicle pursuit on Interstate 70, authorities say.
An armed robbery occurred at the El Azteca grocery store in west Glenwood Springs between about 1:30 and 2 p.m. Saturday. Glenwood Springs police Lt. Bill Kimminau said a man wearing a beanie and scarf to disguise himself and carrying a handgun entered the store and demanded money, fleeing with probably more than $500. No one was injured in the robbery.
The Garfield County sheriff’s office said in a news release that law enforcement spotted the vehicle the man was driving shortly afterward and tried to make a traffic stop. With New Castle police chasing the man, the pursuit ended with the man traveling east in the westbound lanes of I-70 before losing control and crashing. He then allegedly brandished a weapon while trying to flee the crashed vehicle and refused to obey officer commands before being fired on by New Castle police, according to the release.
A female also in the vehicle surrendered without incident.
Garfield County Coroner Robert Glassmire said in a separate news release that Eric Reynolds New Castle died at the scene of the shooting. An autopsy indicated he suffered multiple gunshot wounds, only one of which was fatal. Glassmire said that his office is investigating the shooting as a homicide, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a crime was committed.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Jeff Cheney ultimately will decide whether criminal charges should be pursued in the shooting. A multi-agency 9th Judicial District critical incident team is investigating the shooting and is asking anyone who saw it or has any information related to it to call the team through the Garfield County Emergency Services non-emergency number, 625-8095.
New Castle police Chief Tony Pagni said the names of the New Castle officers involved in the incident will be withheld until the conclusion of the investigation.
He said one of the officers is on administrative leave but is eligible to come back once he has taken a fitness-for-duty exam. The second was “just an observer” and is eligible to return to work immediately, Pagni said.
He said he believes the shooting was justified, and that placing anyone on longer leave pending the investigation’s outcome “is an entire waste of time.”
“We’re a small department; we need the manpower,” he said.
Pagni said in a statement on the town’s Facebook page Sunday that all officers involved were “given the option to take a leave of absence and have been afforded treatment for any repercussions from the incident.”
The incident occurred around 2 p.m. Saturday during a snowstorm and forced the closure of the interstate east of New Castle. The only available detour route, U.S. Highway 6, then was closed due to an accident later in the afternoon, halting all east-west traffic between New Castle and Glenwood Springs until the roads began reopening early that evening.
Reynolds turned 43 Jan. 2.
An August 2016 Aspen Times story reported that Reynolds, then 39 and serving time in the Buena Vista Correctional Complex, had just been charged in connection with a burglary a year earlier at an Aspen apartment in which about $7,200 worth of jewelry was taken.
On Jan. 4, 2017, the Aspen Daily News reported that Reynolds received a three-year prison sentence with credit for 285 days of time served.
That article cited a 2006 Westword story reporting that Reynolds had lost his parents to a drunken driver in Illinois when he was 7 years old and ended up in group homes, foster homes and mental institutions. The Daily News reported that Reynolds stabbed a guard at a juvenile facility and spent much of his adult life in and out of prison.
Colorado Bureau of Records indicate he escaped from the Colorado Department of Corrections in 2011. The Daily Sentinel reported at the time that Reynolds left Garfield County’s community corrections facility and didn’t return, and that a Garfield sheriff’s deputy tried to pull him over in a vehicle but he sped off. He later crashed into a concrete barrier and fled, but later turned himself in to authorities.